How do I know if you are my friend or best friend?

Middle School Transition Group Session Activity

How do I know if you are my friend or best friend?    

Group sessions are in full swing at SEC.  Our middle school transition group is working on learning how to distinguish between an acquaintance, a friend, and a best friend.  In an age where social media and fast paced relationships drive our social culture, learning how to tell the difference is an essential piece to social success.  See how the SEC supports social skill development through structured and practical learning.

Our Middle School Transition Group meets weekly at 10am and is comprised of five 4th and 5th grade boys.  Learning the difference between an acquaintance, friend, and best friend are integral for children this age. Therefore, it is extremely important for them to understand what it means to have a friend and what makes someone a friend. While the boys were able to describe each category accurately, they had difficulty understanding the difference in real life scenarios with their peers.

The first discussion began by reviewing a definition of each of the categories. Each boy was asked to list characteristics of each category while the facilitator wrote each characteristic down. For instance, one of the boys mentioned that an acquaintance is someone that you do not know much about. Ultimately, the main idea that came across for each category is as follows: an acquaintance is someone who they see in school but do not talk to or spend time with outside of school. A friend is someone who they play and talk to in and out of school and that they know well. A best friend is someone who they want to talk to about something exciting in their life, spend a lot of their time with, and know really well.

During the next session, the boys were provided with a worksheet asking them to list three acquaintances, three friends, and three best friends as well as to provide the reasons for why they believed that each individual should be placed in each category. We posted their lists on the board for reference. The boys struggled with this exercise as they were unable to decipher distinct differences between their peers to place them in appropriate categories. Through this activity we helped the boys understand that they were unclear of their relationships.   In essence, this activity was used to explain how a relationship can progress from an acquaintance to a friend or from a friend to a best friend.

We continued the discussion by helping the boys brainstorm and plan what they can do when with their friends or best friends. They all compiled a list of things they could do with the help of the facilitator. For example, with friends they can go to each other’s house or go to a movie together.  By defining and providing real life scenarios, we support the learning process.

Our process: Learning the difference between acquaintance, friend, and best friend

  • We distinguished the differences between each category
  • We helped them group their peers into appropriate headings
  • We continued to discuss how they can support their relationships and encourage them to grow their friendships by providing real life scenarios for activities to do with friends.

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